In looking at the ancestral chart, I had to go all the way back to my maternal great-grandfather Peter Metz, who was the youngest of 9 kids, to find another baby. None of my other great-grandparents fell into this very special place in their families.
In a way my family is unique in that my parents had almost two separate sets of children. My sister is 11 years older than me, followed by a brother who is 9 years older than me, and then a brother who is 18 months older than me. In between the boys, my mom suffered a couple of miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy which resulted in all of one and most of the other ovaries being removed. She was told she would most likely not get pregnant again, and if she did would not carry the baby to full term. And then along came my brother and me.
My sister was like a second mother to me, and she spent a lot of time caring for my brother and me. With my brother being so close in age to me, we were best buddies as children. We shared bottles and toys, and got along great. My sister has corroborated that we were sickeningly sweet to each other. We played a lot of games together, rode our bikes and acted out war scenes with his G.I. Joes, and later played baseball with the neighborhood boys.
Maybe due to our close age, I never really felt like the baby of the family. I certainly never was aware that I received special attention. Mom never played favorites with any of us, and if anything my dad favored the brother next closest in age to me. I don’t think my dad ever got over losing his oldest son to aplastic anemia at the age of 7, and I believe my brother reminded dad of Roy.
One benefit of being the youngest is that I learned a lot from my older siblings. My dad had a bit of a temper, so by observing what set him off with the older kids, I avoided doing those things. It was also nice to have my parents to myself for the last couple of years of college, when the others had married and/or moved away.
It was a good childhood, with a lot of love and laughs. I enjoyed my place in it as baby of the family. Even if I often shared that place with my not too much older brother.